Oil pulling has been a part of my morning routine every day for a little over 2 years. It helps set me up for a great day! Swishing coconut oil around in your mouth may sound kinda crazy, but if you’ve been on the health band wagon for a while I’m sure you’ve come across this idea before. It might not sound like much, but I can tell you, the benefits of incorporating this little exercise in to your life are amazing! I encourage you to read on and find out more…
What is oil pulling and why should you care?
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth for around 15-20 minutes.
Did you know one of the first signs of chronic disease shows up in the mouth? If you have poor oral hygiene you will most likely have other health issues going on. Even though we consistently brush and floss, most of the population has a level of gum disease or tooth decay.
There are many different types of good and bad bacteria in our mouths that create a biofilm on the teeth which is called plaque. This is normal unless it starts to get too much, where it can cause problems ranging from bad breath and gum inflammation to gingivitis and cavities.
The main benefit of oil pulling is that it reduces the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth. After realising the impact that our oral health has on our overall health, I’d say this is an excellent benefit! Plus it helps you to understand why people are gaining a variety of health benefits from this practice.
How does it work?
Many toxins found in the body can be hard to get rid of because they are fat soluble, not water soluble, which is why they can dissolve in the oil. Dr. Karach (physician who introduced this method to the US) says that the process of oil pulling activates the enzymes in the mouth which enable them to draw out toxins from of the blood. Basically, bad bacteria gets stuck in the oil while you’re swishing it around your mouth. The oil dissolves plaque and even tartar. This explains why your teeth look so white after you start oil pulling.
The mouth’s acupuncture points are also stimulated and the lymphatic flow is activated, increasing the body’s natural detoxification process.
There are so many benefits that books have been written on the topic, but here are some main ones:
- fresh breath
- whiter teeth
- stronger teeth and gums
- fastening of loose teeth
- detoxifies the body
- increases energy
- promotes oral hygiene
What is the procedure?
- On an empty stomach, first thing in the morning, take a tablespoon of raw, cold pressed oil (I personally prefer coconut oil as it is anti-bacterial and has a mild flavour) and gently swish it around in your mouth for about 20 minutes. Be sure not to swallow any! The first few times you may feel a build up of mucus forming in your throat. Try not to swallow it, and if you feel like you need to spit everything out, do so. It’s okay if you don’t last 20 minutes, each time will get easier.
- Once the time is up, spit everything out in to the bin. Don’t spit in to the sink or toilet as the oil will solidify and eventually block the drain. I also went through a phase of spitting it outside my window on to some plants, and the plants ended up wilting/dying… so don’t do that either!
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water and brush and floss like normal.
I used to get chemical whitening at the dentist because my two ‘vampire’ teeth at the top were really yellow and I hated it! The chemical stuff always irritated my mouth though and the whitening would only last a few months (plus it was super expensive!). Oil Pulling is cheap, easy and my teeth have never looked more white 🙂
Not sold? There’s no better way to test it out than to try it out for yourself and experience the results first hand. It is simple, safe and inexpensive. Remember to give it a good go though! (Do it daily for a minimum of 1 month).
Effects of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: Awoken S, Emmadi P
Oil Pulling Therapy by Dr. Bruce Fife
Dr. Karach’s Oil Pulling Therapy